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TV Reviews

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Cast
Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester; Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester; Misha Collins as Castiel
Channel
CW
Reviewer
Paul Asay
Supernatural

Supernatural

Sam and Dean Winchester are (still) on a mission from God—or so they think.

At the time of the writing of this updated review, the two brothers have been hunting devils, demons and all manner of preternatural beasties for a solid eight seasons—a near eternity in television terms, and three years past the show's ballyhooed climactic season, when Sam and Dean stopped Armageddon. Because in this CW world, demons will always lurk behind every bush, always be on the lookout to corrupt more souls and destroy more worlds and just make everything a literal living hell.

That's where Sam and Dean fit in. They're apparently the only two humanoids standing between Earth and the fiery circles of Hades. They're almost like heaven's human hit men, dealing with terra firma's muck and grime so the angels don't have to sully themselves. It ultimately doesn't help much, though. Sure, God's minions are generally the good guys. But sometimes we see indications that those who reside in the heavenly realm are just as petty and duplicitous as the folks down here, prone to jealousy and anger and not above triggering the occasional celestial civil war. And Sam and Dean (using every last bit of the knowledge they gleaned from modeling school) sometimes have to give these almighty beings a bit of a talking to. You know, to straighten out their priorities.

Not that Sam and Dean are all that great themselves with issues of peacefulness or morality. They hardly ever keep their language in check, and they sometimes get themselves into sexual situations. Blood spatters like rain in Seattle. Heads roll like bowling balls on the PBA tour. While the show is self-aware and campy enough to make all the blood feel a little less … bloody, it's still there, in greater quantities than you'd see in a shocking old Hammer horror film.

Supernatural has its merits. Strip away the theological mumbo jumbo, and you have a middling good-vs.-evil conflict in which these two bros are week after week asked to save the world and each other. There are some nice messages about family and self-sacrifice and how demons—no matter how nice they may seem—shouldn't be trusted.

But you just can't cleanly strip away the spiritual gunk in Supernatural. It's been pretty obvious for years now that this series is about as sacredly sound as The Walking Dead, doing for theology what Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter does for presidential history.

Episode Reviews

"As Time Goes By"

Henry Winchester zips forward in time to keep a mysterious box away from a demon—running into his incredulous grandsons, Dean and Sam. The demon (in the guise of a woman wearing a bloodstained, cleavage-revealing dress) is a powerful, bloodthirsty thing. Before she follows Henry in time, she kills several members of a secret brotherhood (leaving them in pools of blood, one bleeding from his eyes). She kills at least four more in present-day action—dispatching one with a slice to the neck (offscreen) and another with a stab to the gut (with blood splashing against a wall). She makes her most gruesome kill by jamming her fist through a guy's stomach, leaving a gaping wound.

The brothers stab the demon. The wound doesn't kill her, but does electrify her body from the inside. She's shot point-blank in the head. Again she lives on, with the bullet leaving a grotesque wound. Finally, someone knocks her head clean off, and we're told that the demon still isn't dead. (Sam and Dean say they'll cut her body into little pieces and bury them in cement.)

We see a variety of occult-looking symbols and hear references to angels and demons and the supposed Mayan doomsday prophecy. A grave is exhumed. Characters say "h‑‑‑," "a‑‑" and "b‑‑ch" two or three times each. We hear the f-word stand-in "freaking." God's name is misused.

"Lucifer Rising"

Brotherly love? Forget it. These siblings, apparently inseparable through four TV seasons, have had a bit of a falling out as the episode opens. Seems Dean's been signed to a lifetime contract with the angels, and he's got a little problem with Sam being infected with demon blood. They must deal with a smug angel named Zachariah, who's hankering for the end of the world, wand who tells Dean that the afterworld will be wonderful for him—full of peace and happiness, along with "two virgins and 70 sluts." When Dean asks where God is in this "divine" plan, Zachariah says, "God? God has left the building."

Supernatural posits that heaven and hell are two powerful and essentially immoral forces using humanity for their own whims and wiles. So Dean rebels against his angelic overlords, declaring he'd rather choose pain over peace any ol' day, if the latter involves becoming a mindless "Stepford b‑‑ch in paradise."

A possessed priest slaughters a sanctuary full of nuns, and we see their bodies and blood strewn across the sanctified space. Sam kidnaps a terrified nurse (who is possessed by a demon), and viewers hear her scream before he kills her (offscreen). Sexual double entendres arise, as do profanities.

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